Bell Canada pledges $1.2bn fibre investment
Bell Canada, the telecoms subsidiary of BCE, has pledged to spend between $1 billion to $1.2 billion on the acceleration of its broadband network over the next 2 years.
The news came off the back of the company’s Q4 2020 financial results. The Bell Canada reported an increase of 28.9% in net revenues to $932 million for the period. Additionally, Adjusted EBITDA was down 3.2% in Q4 on 2.8% lower revenue and 2.6% reduction in operating costs.
Bell also announced a 5.1%, or $0.17 per share, increase in the BCE annual common share dividend to $3.50.
As for the company’s fibre investment, the funds will be used to roll out fast fibre, rural Wireless Home Internet (WHI) and 5G networks nationwide.
“Today, BCE is proud to announce a significant acceleration in network capital investment to support Canada’s recovery from the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 alongside a 5.1% increase in our common share dividend. These initiatives reflect our commitment to lead the buildout of Canada’s next-generation digital infrastructure while also delivering increased dividend returns to the shareholders who have invested in Bell’s strategy of broadband innovation and growth,” said Mirko Bibic (pictured), president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.
Bell will increase the number of new locations covered with fibre and WHI to 900,000 throughout 2021. This will bring the total footprint to approximately 6.9 million homes and businesses by the end of the year. This will also double the population coverage of Canada’s 5G network.
The fibre project will be funded by the proceeds from the sale of Bell data centres in 2020 and adds to Bell’s previous investments of approximately $4 billion a year.
“Now, Bell looks forward to playing a key role in the country’s move forward with an acceleration of at least $1 billion over the next 2 years to deliver fibre connections, rural Internet services and the fastest 5G network to even more Canadians. Since 1880, Bell has led the way in ensuring Canada’s leadership position in the global communications sector, and our team is proud to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world in 2021,” added Bibic.